When using student response systems, what issues should I be aware of?
Student response systems (clickers) allow instructors to pose questions to the class and to gather and display answers in real time through radio frequency technology. For more about specific devices at Indiana University, see At IU, what options exist for student response devices? Instructors should be aware of the following:
- Pedagogical considerations
- Caution on giving exams
- Caution on using ResponseWare
- Student device registration
- ResponseCard RF LCD warranty extension (IU only)
- ResponseCard NXT updates
- Receiver updates
- More information
For more about pedagogical issues related to using student response systems, see the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning's Clickers page.
Caution on giving exams
Turning Technologies' TurningKey software, when used with the ResponseCard NXT, allows students to enter answers to questions at their own pace. However, because you have no hard copy of students' answers (unlike with Scantron), you should not use TurningKey for high-stakes assessments without a backup plan (e.g., also requiring students to hand in a hard copy of the exam with their answers marked).
Caution on using ResponseWare
Before choosing to use ResponseWare (the option that allows students to use personal mobile devices to respond), consider the following. Wireless connections in the classroom are limited, so there may be issues in large classes with many students attempting to connect their wireless devices. Similarly, not all classrooms have adequate cell phone reception for students using their data plans to connect to the Internet.
Also, be aware that allowing students to use devices that can access the Internet in your classroom may lead to a greater occurrence of cheating.
Student device registration
If you will be giving grades for clicker use, students must register their devices in Oncourse. There is no cost for this, but it is required in order to associate devices with students' usernames. Make your students aware of the need to register; you may want to give them a 1-2 week grace period at the beginning of the course before using the clickers for grades. See At IU, how do I buy and register a Turning Technologies device or license?
ResponseCard RF LCD warranty extension (IU only)
A small percentage of ResponseCard RF LCDs produced between the 15th week of 2010 and the 11th week of 2011 may experience battery problems or appear to be dead. Turning Technologies has retrofitted their existing stock to remedy this problem, but will also extend a two-year warranty, exclusive for Indiana University, for all ResponseCard RF LCDs manufactured between these dates, as long as the reported problem is not related to misuse, deliberate destruction, or alteration. To check the production date of an RF LCD, look for a four-digit number (indicating the week and year of manufacture) on the back of the card. If the date is between 1510 and 1111 and the device is malfunctioning, take it to a campus bookstore for a replacement.
ResponseCard NXT updates
Make sure to keep the firmware on your ResponseCard NXT up to date. The current firmware version is 0.8.5.
To check the firmware version on your ResponseCard NXT:
- Push the button just under the wrench to open the toolbox.
- Scroll to the
Device Infooption and select it.
- Push the right arrow button to go to the next screen of device information.
- On this second screen, you'll see which firmware version is currently on your device.
To update the firmware on your ResponseCard NXT, you can do either of the following:
- If you are on the Bloomington campus, visit any Support Center walk-in location, where consultants can update
your ResponseCard NXT for you.
- Download the Hardware Updater (Windows only) from IUware, and follow the directions to install the update yourself. For this option, you will need a USB-to-mini-USB cord in order to connect your ResponseCard NXT to your computer.
Instructors' receivers periodically require updates for use with new technology. Currently, the receivers require an update for use with the ResponseCard NXTs and PresenterCards (instructor devices). Download the Hardware Updater (Windows only) from IUware and follow the directions to update the firmware on your receiver.
If you are an instructor and would like more information about using student response systems in your classes, contact your campus teaching and learning center.
Last modified on April 15, 2013.